Jump to content

Article on Budalic


Recommended Posts

From the KW Record


Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Updated at 7:28 AM EST

Budalic hopes to make most of audition

Toronto FC looks at Waterloo player


Jan 25, 2007)

Waterloo's Niki Budalic is finally getting his shot at playing top level professional soccer in Canada.

The former Bluevale Collegiate student has been invited to Toronto FC's training camp which begins next Thursday at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan. Toronto FC is Major League Soccer's newest franchise and the only one outside of the United States.

"It's a huge opportunity and very exciting, especially considering all the interest the team has been generating over the past three or four months," the 28-year-old said. "I just want to make an impact. I'm more than ready. I'm really looking forward to it."

Budalic headed south on a soccer scholarship to James Madison University in Virginia after graduating from BCI. He went on to win a Canadian university soccer title with Laurier in 2001 and was the United Soccer Leagues' A-League rookie of the year with the Toronto Lynx a year later.

The rising star spent the last three years playing for FC Haugesund in Norway's First Division. He returned home last winter to have surgery on his left hip and sat out three months this past summer with strained ligaments in his left knee.

But Budalic is back in action and feeling fine. He has been working out with a conditioning coach as well as with members of Toronto FC all winter.

The club contacted him a couple of months ago and extended an invitation to training camp. At 28, he'll be one of the more veteran players competing for a spot, but he's hoping his experience and versatility -- he can play forward or midfield -- will help set him apart.

"From what I've seen so far of my experience of playing in Europe seems to be an advantage because of the tactical training we got," said Budalic, who lives in Toronto. "In Europe it's a lot more strenuous than it is here.

"There are a lot of people with a lot of talent here but they don't have that experience."

Training camp begins next week in Toronto before moving to Fort Lauderdale later in the month. Additional sessions are scheduled for Bradenton, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., in March.

Budalic feels prepared and hopes to work his way on to the team.

"It depends on what the coach is looking for at this point," he said of his chances of making the squad. "Physically and mentally I'm where I need to be."

Budalic wishes Toronto FC had been here while he was growing up and thinks the team's presence will be a big boon for up-and-coming Canadian soccer players.

"It's absolutely huge," he said. "Everybody knew that there is a tremendous interest in soccer here, we just needed the right organization to take it to the next level."


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My view is that there will be alot more Budalic's at the TFC camp. Guys like Arango, Dodds, Aristodemeo, who played for the Lynx, and out of contract players who have had a cup of coffee in Europe like Budalic. There is really no downside for TFC and I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of these guys impress and make the step up. You will always get surprises in situations like this (ie. expansion team).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night on the Soccer show on Fan590, MoJo mentioned that they are actively identifying local talent for the first phase of training camp (to be held at the Soccer Center in Woodbridge starting late next week). He even mentioned one young 18 year old by name who will be at the camp.

It was an interesting show. To listen to the entire 1 hour show, follow this link:


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...